Random question:  Before I begin my post about fabulous outdoor dining I have to ask an unrelated question…does anyone besides me find it weird to abbreviate the year.  I mean when we were in the 1900s I was fine with writing ’97 or ’99 but ever since we’ve turned the corner on the century I just find it uncomfortable to type ’12 (2012).  I think it’s because I think people will think I mean 1912.  Do any of you find the abbreviated year a little odd?

On to the fun stuff.  I know its summer for at least half of the globe.  I’ve come across so many pretty outdoor dining spaces that I couldn’t resist.  I’m also including a recipe that is super easy and grill-worthy so you can cook something simple (or better yet, have someone barbecue for you), set the table and relax over a summer meal alfresco.

Now this (below) is what I call alfresco with a breeze…wouldn’t it be lovely sitting by a lake enjoying a meal?

via Brabourne Farm

Italy or France…beautiful either way.


via Providence Ltd. Design

via Wendy Posard Design

Now this is my idea of a day at the beach!

via Brabourne Farm

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, wish we could grow lilacs in Southern California that looked like this.

Photo by Tara Whittaker

This is one of my favorite of this set of images…the yard looks like a dream forest.  So pretty.

Bunny Williams

As Delores over at Vignette Design said, this furniture is probably unrealistic for outdoor dining unless you have someone that can move the furniture after the dinner.

via Vignette Design

An outdoor fireplace would be nice to dine by, right?


via Providence Ltd. Design

Even big city living can provide one with a wonderful setting for dining under the shade of an umbrella.

John Saladino

An old looking lantern hung from a tree creates a welcoming setting.


This setting is wonderful with the lush green surrounding the table and teak chairs.

via Simply Pix tumblr

Here’s the recipe, it’s from Barefoot Contessa “Parties” book.  It makes a wonderful side dish for any grilled meat or fish and you can make it in advance, what could be better?  Use this link to print.

Orzo with Roasted Vegetables Copyright


  • 1 small eggplant, peeled and 3/4-inch diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, 1-inch diced
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, 1-inch diced
  • 1 red onion, peeled and 1-inch diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/3 cup good olive oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 pound orzo or rice-shaped pasta

For the dressing:

  • 1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (2 lemons)
  • 1/3 cup good olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

To assemble:

  • 4 scallions, minced (white and green parts)
  • 1/4 cup pignolis (pine nuts), toasted
  • 3/4 pound good feta, 1/2-inch diced (not crumbled)
  • 15 fresh basil leaves, cut into julienne


Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

Toss the eggplant, bell peppers, onion, and garlic with the olive oil, salt, and pepper on a large sheet pan. Roast for 40 minutes, until browned, turning once with a spatula.

Meanwhile, cook the orzo in boiling salted water for 7 to 9 minutes, until tender. Drain and transfer to a large serving bowl. Add the roasted vegetables to the pasta, scraping all the liquid and seasonings from the roasting pan into the pasta bowl.

For the dressing, combine the lemon juice, olive oil, salt, and pepper and pour on the pasta and vegetables. Let cool to room temperature, then add the scallions, pignolis (pine nuts), feta, and basil. Check the seasonings, and serve at room temperature.

I hope you’re enjoying your summer.  Any dinning ‘out’ on your calendar?

I’m over at Centsational Girl’s recipe partycome see what’s cooking out there.  I’m also having fun with Tracie at Fishtail Cottage, she’s hosting a garden party.